Through thick and thin: How two men forged an unlikely friendship

For people with disabilities, opportunities to foster close friendships are often few and far between.

So when Tristan and Anthony connected during a stay at Scope’s Short Term Accommodation and Assistance (STAA) in Morwell, the two did everything they could to maintain their bond.

Anthony, 28, uses a wheelchair and communicates without speech. He has been described as a calming presence on his new friend, an excitable and enthusiastic 21-year-old named Tristan.

A burly and gentle giant standing at six foot five, Tristan is a vehicle-enthusiast with a particular passion for taxis, trucks and diggers.

Heather Flynne, Manager of Scope’s Morwell STAA said the two made for an unlikely pair, but they have quickly become fixtures in each other’s lives.

“They are like two peas in a pod – if one was a carrot!” Heather said.

“But it doesn’t matter because they are really good friends.”

Opposites attract

Anthony loves good food, and his Italian heritage means he never fails to let team members know when the pasta isn’t up to his standards. Tristan, on the other hand, finds joy in various TV shows like The Block, Cops and his personal favourite, Million Dollar Questions.

Despite their differences, the duo have enjoyed forming a meaningful and organic friendship during their time away at STAA.

Now, they work with their parents and Scope team members to coordinate their stays so they can spend time together.

Although he is more reserved, Anthony is always up for a laugh and has a wicked sense of humour, and Tristan always endeavours to ensure his buddy is included in activities by other guests.  

And while they can often be found side by side during their stays, their friendship has also blossomed outside of walls of their STAA.

Tristan was thrilled to include Anthony and the Morwell STAA team in his 21st birthday celebrations last year.

Tristan’s family, who had clearly heard a lot about Anthony, were also eager to welcome him to the party.

Staying at STAA allowed Anthony and Tristan to gain independence and foster real, genuine connection on their own terms.

Their solidarity has even extended to their mothers, who have developed a connection of their own and are appreciative of the support they have found in one another.

Like other STAAs, the team at Morwell have worked hard to create an environment that puts their guests front and centre, while helping out families.

They create activities that suit those staying with them, like cooking, crafts, toys or music (Anthony, for example, is a huge Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls fan).

Heather and her STAA teams are aware that families are an important part of the journey and endeavour to make the stay as easy and fun as possible for everyone.

“We are only in this for a season, but the families are in it for a lifetime,” she said.

Tristan and Anthony are looking forward to their next stay at Scope’s Morwell STAA this February.

Whether your goal is to learn new skills, meet new people, or to enjoy a short break, staying at Scope’s STAA can make it happen.

Find out more about STAA properties here.